Despite telling her many times, Glen’s mum still insists that sweetbreads are lamb’s bollocks, they’re not. Sweetbreads are the thymus or pancreatic glands from lambs and calves. This recipe uses the thymus glands from the neck of Spring lambs, their season is short so as soon as they start to arrive in my butchers I stock up the freezer.
They take a little bit of preparation but they really are worth it. Sweetbreads have a wonderfully creamy texture and delicate lamb flavour. Being quite fatty I tend to serve them with a squeeze of lemon if cooking them on the BBQ or like this dish, I make a zesty green sauce. The sheep’s curd is from Homewood Cheeses and it’s light creamy saltiness really makes the dish.
- lamb sweetbreads
- unsalted butter
- 2 shallots
- good stock, I use veg or a very light chicken stock (Essential Cuisine is perfect as its powdered so you can control exactly how concentrated it is)
- young veg such as baby new potatoes, chanternay carrots, asparagus, peas, lettuce, broad beans
- dried sliced garlic (or fresh)
- salt and pepper
- fresh sheep’s curd, fennel fronds and pea shoots to serve
For the green sauce:
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- olive oil
- 1/4 finely chopped red chilli
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
- salt and pepper
- To prepare the sweetbreads soak them for a few hours in cold water, changing it a couple of times to remove any blood. Then peel away the membrane surrounding the sweetbread and discard.
- Finely chop your shallots and gently sweat off on the butter. Add your stock, garlic slivers and the sturdier veg such as the new potatoes followed by the carrots etc. You want all your veg to be just cooked and still with a bit of bite to your carrots and pop to your peas. Depending on the size of your sweetbreads they should take about 7 minutes to poach so pop them in too. Check for seasoning.
- Whilst your sweetbreads are poaching prepare your sauce. Finely chop everything and combine.
- Serve the poached sweetbreads and veg in their own broth, scatter with fennel fronds, pea shoots and dollops of green sauce.
I also made a liquorice foam to place on the sweetbreads which you can just about make out in the photo but I preferred it with the mint foam that I made for the second time I made this, not essential but just added another layer of delicate flavour.